If it were my job to sell bluefish, and he were still alive, I'd get Jack Lemmon to be my spokesperson. If Lemmon is an actor's actor, bluefish is a fish's fish. Certainly, not a fish for people who do not like fish. For reasons not entirely clear to me, many of the same folks who do not like bluefish are the people who fish for them. By all accounts, they behave like blenders with fins and scales, which makes for exciting sport, but may account for the prejudice against them. I've always been a fan. If you are in the Northeast, they are local, as far as I know, they are in no danger of being overfished, and they taste like something, as opposed to say, tilapia. Also, I don't know how seasonal they are, but blues usually seem to appear in late summer, in the context of real tomatoes and corn on the cob. This past weekend involved important Rockaway birthday activities. Usually, my role at this party is to cook all or part of a mammal, but a grill shortage made that impractical. I'd seen this receipt in the Globe earlier in the week, and thought I'd give it a try.
6 ounces boneless smoked bluefish
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
4-6 dashes hot sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives (for garnish)
1. Remove and discard the skin and darkest flesh from the bluefish.
2. Flake the fish into medium bowl. Add the cream cheese, onion, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and parsley. Stir to combine thoroughly. Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with chives, and serve with toast points or crackers.
-Amanda Lydon and Gabriel Frasca.*
This seemed to be pretty popular. I did not have this receipt in front of me when I was cooking, but this is the basic idea. I did smoke the bluefish myself, and you might as a well, too: Salt and pepper the filets, put them in a Cameron smoker** with some mostly alder and some cherry chips, and smoke until the smoke subsides, and a bit more. (Ca. 25 minutes over a medium flame.) This is one of those receipts that tastes good at intermediate stages--maybe better than as the finished product -- the cream cheese takes in in a sort of deli-ish direction that is not so consistent with a summer beach context. Next time, I might try binding the fish with a light homemade mayo instead. On the other hand, the limited cracker options at the local grocery led to a very happy triscuitaissance. They were the perfect medium for this stuff, and I'd forgotten how good they were.
*Unfortunately, not Johnny Lydon's daughter, but rather Christopher Lydon's.
**Do not be skeptical. This may look like a NordicTrack for your kitchen, but I've enjoyed everything I've ever made with it.